I believe that my remit is to listen to new releases from artists and then tell you about ones I like. I will embed a few songs and direct you to the album where you can listen to it and hopefully get your purse out. It is hard to that with The Jomo, because I can find little out about the album and it is seemingly only available on the likes of Spotify and Amazon Music.
I avoid streaming sites for reasons that I mention too often, so I'm telling you about this corker of an album and then directing you to those streaming links where you can listen to the album, because there is one certainty and that is that this album deserves to be heard.
Happy Little Accidents is in essence a lockdown Indie Rock album, it is very Brit sounding, but wanders across the decades with no abandon. At times you hear 60's Beat, 70's Big Rock, 80's C86, Brit Pop and much more. Fixer for instance could be Manc Baggy or Primal Scream.
My Friend Jeff is corckernee New Wave or maybe sleaze shouty hosting. Too Old To Make It goes all US cock rock and yet the superb, Morecambe Bay is very late 60's and the organ run is really spacey, before launching into a sing (shout) along Glam Rock chorus.
Popstar is even more Glam Rock, so much so that I had to put my flares on. Yet it still has New Wave hints. Woman In White is almost like an Ozzy ballad. You Know I Need You is very tune in man and a great closer.
There are so many roads taken here, all of them top notch. My only grumble is that Happy Little Accidents needs to be everywhere. I wish it was available to buy and easier to promote. This is a fascinating album, very different to much that is around at present. Now imagine if this lockdown album had been the usual earnest Acoustic Strumming and then be thankful it isn't.
You can listen to the album on Spotify here and Amazon Music here.
There are the tedious arguments about what is and isn't Power Pop and a reluctance from some Artists to be named in the genre, but there is so much to like about the scene. Melodic sing along pop songs, largely electric, enhanced by hooks, solos and harmonies.
Amongst the obvious candidates in Power Pop land, there are bands that don't get the credit that they deserve for their influence. More recently that has started to change and 20/20 are certainly one of those. The band could be easily linked to New Wave or Pop Rock, but Power Pop it is.
Coming from the second of the three main waves of the genre. What they added was a crunch, an almost live feel. The hooks and the choruses were still aplenty, but there was an edge. Despite my usual reservations about Tribute albums, mainly asking what the point of them are, there are exceptions and the better ones are usually on the Futureman Records label.
The best Tribute albums feature a mix of the loyal "true to the original" versions and the unexpected takes on the song. You have that here, but there is also the sheer fact that 20/20 deserve recognition for what they achieved and how their work still stands up.
If you ever wanted an artist nearest 20/20, you would have to choose Chris Church. He treads similar territory and his version of Remember The Lightning is every bit as ace as you'd expect. It is also great to hear Plasticsoul opening proceedings. We are long overdue a new album from Steven Wilson's lot.
With two obvious choices to open the album, it is worth seeking out some unusual takes. The Hangabouts turn A Girl Like You in to something almost Baroque Pop and Robbie Rist's Ballzy Tomorrow convert Cheri into a hoedown. Both are superb.
The Armoires version of The Night I Heard Her Scream is inspired. The joint vocal works beautifully and the violin adds another surprise direction. The Brothers Steve turn Beat City in to something indelibly them, garaged up with Glam Rock overtones.
Talking Of Glam Rock, Popdudes could be The Glitter Band and I can't get the image of John Borack with stars on his face out of my head. Joe and Tracy Sullivan add a fine Bubblegum cover of Giving It All and Irene Pena punks up Tonight We Fly.
There is also something special about The Toms covering 20/20, both bands of a similar vintage. Action Now stands up in its own right. Forget that this is a tribute album, it is a fantastic listen all the way through. This is both a credit to the artists involved and an under lining of how fine a band 20/20 were.
You can listen to and buy the album as a CD or download here.
Towards the end of the Nineties, I was recommended to the Star Collector album that had just been released. I was absolutely hooked and have attentively followed Joe Giddings career ever since. Songs For The Whole Family remains one of my favourite albums ever.
The excellent Futureman Records also released a collection of Unreleased songs, Demos and Live Tracks from the same period, Collected Stars. You can listen and buy that here. However I digress with all this fanboy stuff and should return to the matter in hand.
Kool Kat have released a remastered version of Joe's splendid solo album, Better From Here and it truly sounds amazing. There's a real sound clarity that has enhanced the original release. This is Pop Rock of the highest order from start to finish.
Lately, the Power Pop fraternity seem to have lost sight of what a difference the 90's Power Pop Revival made. Popular Music had been hammered by the Dance Revival and depressed by the self absorbed Grunge. Better From Here may have been recorded two decades later, but it has the feel of everything that was good about that revival.
Big Choruses, Riffs aplenty, harmonies galore and break out Guitar Solos abound. Gone So Far is in Jellyfish territory, Rock And Roll is monster Glam Rock and Brand New Day is march along Monkees. Irrelevant is an absolute self effacing joy that romps along.
Alone But As One is the anthem, Amity Horror nods towards Weezer while not forgetting it wants to be Cheap Trick. The title track sums up everything you need to know about the album, underlining how music can make the darkest days bright. Always Raining Somewhere is another cracker with a fab Steel Guitar accompaniment.
In a righteous world, Joe Giddings would be idolised, whilst counting the cash from his million sellers. The Hype and Lowest Common Denominator choices don't allow this. These days it takes 12 people to write a song that isn't half as good as the songs on display here. Highly Recommended!
You can buy the CD from Kool Kat here. The album is also available to listen to and download on Joe's Bandcamp site here, where you can tuck in to other goodies. I've embedded three songs to listen to from here, but I could have chosen any of the 12.
New Jersey Trio, Blank Pages specialise in inventive New Wave Pop Rock. They even border on Power Pop at times, but this is no "I Love You, Yes I Do" affair.. Home is Indie, almost College Rock, but there is a complexity that takes them far beyond that.
The New Wave comparisons are many, The Police being the most mentioned. But there is far more intelligence and depth to the material than Sting's lost. On the other side, there are similarities to 80's Stripped down Rush without all the mind bending lyrics and plinkity plonk keyboards.
There's all hints of the 80's King Crimson reformation, but dressed up as Pop. There's also plenty of variance and for all the cleverness, the song and the hooks are lost. Hang Up is all jangly Power Pop, Waiting In Line is splendidly Angular and American.
Uncomplicated borders on Country and the Robots Will Not Win riff is so Andy Summers. There's a hell of a lot to like here. Not your usual New Wave Pop simplicity, but a more thought out approach. Is This Real is a great listen.
Mooner's third album is an absolute joy. The band suck you in. Essentially Indie Pop Rock, Lee Ketch's laidback soothing vocal would easily lend itself to the Wilco brigade if it were not for the mastery and inventiveness of the songs.
The weeping Why Don't You Need Me is straight ahead and it is here that those Jeff Tweedy comparisons, and Can I Be Angry? could follow similar territory if it were not for some incendiary Guitar playing.
Happily is built around an unusual riff that just hooks you completely, then the cello zips in followed by an explosive Lead Guitar. It is about now that you realise that this is going to be no ordinary listen. Eleanor's Idea underlines this, it is a Toytown Psych wonder, completely unexpected in the first minute.
Every Single Sun has overtones of early Fleetwood Mac, all six minutes of it and Is This All I Can Do To Love You? is pure George Harrison. I Can't Tell is classic 70's Pop Rock, think Gallagher and Lyle, whilst still having Americana Roots.
The Sky is broodingly wonderful. It is an acoustic showcase of Ketch and Lee Shields's vocals until the last two minutes of hippy spaced out feedback. Tying Mooner down is hard, but maybe the title track explains them best, a straight ahead pop song that adds unusual distractions.
I can think of few bands who could pull this off. Adding Indie uniqueness to Americana Pop Rock in a way that doesn't feel forced or too clever. The Alternate Universe To Love is an outstanding offering from a band who know how to write songs and play their instruments.
There's a lot to catch up on before the end of the year so without further ado...........Brooklyn's Bad Spy have released what is essentially a mini album. The title and album cover might suggest something Modern Prog and there is an end of the world theme, but this is great Pop Rock.
Coming in at just over 20 minutes, the songs stand alone, you wouldn't necessarily spot any link. Heat Death Of The Universe is a gentle melodic affair with some killer riffs. Jack Dougherty's laid back vocal suits the material perfectly.
At times the album resides somewhere between AOR and West Coast Pop Rock. The title track races along and borders on Power Pop with a surprise burst out solo at the end. Zuccotti is less direct, settling on a strumming almost ballad like vibe with another welcome guitar solo.
Elsewhere, both the largely acoustic Snow Cover Palisades and vocal harmony led Not So Secret Admirer both impress. There's plenty here to suggest a bright future, indeed the promise shouts out. I look forward to hearing more from Bad Spy.
You can listen to and buy the album here. At 4 dollars for the download or 6 dollars for the cassette, what have you got to lose?
John Wallace Wheatley is familiar face on the UK Americana scene from his work with Suburban Dirts and with his cousin Donald Byron Wheatley. Spent The Morning.... is John’s debut solo album and oscillates between soulful powerpop and epic rock & roll. The LP begins with the soulful Cemetary Smokes, which is based on John’s experience of spotting the grave of a namesake.
Then it’s Heartstrings, a postmodern pizzicato take on the early Motown sound co-written with Donald. Last Man Standing is a Badfingeresque ballad drenched in mellotron; everybody has that friend who’s on the sesh every weekend, but we all know what Smokey said about the life of the party.
There are a few recuring musical and lyrical themes on this LP. The challenge of Wheatley balancing music, family, kids with his day job in the film industry. Wanting to be noticed/remain anonymous, time passing, pennies dropping, existential stuff. Neurotic Dancer is a punchy Vampire Weekend meets Hall & Oates groover. In a parallel universe, this would be a huge hit. In The End is all lolloping guitar and barbershop harmonies.
Then a big beep had me wondering if there was something wrong with the review copy before an eire version of Cemetary Smokes with its cinematic strings that called to my mind the arrangements of David Campbell. When the riffage of I’ve Only Just Realised kicks in, I pictured Harrison rocking his SG. The White Album guitar fest continues on World War III, which stomps along until the chorus drops, everything goes halftime and spacey; a device used a few times on this record to grand effect.
The Singularity is a knowing look at what it is to be a jobbing songwriter “like every other bearded wannabe” which sounds reminiscent of something from late 90’s Longpigs, Embrace kind of vibes, before the album ends with the title track of sorts.
The Morning Never Came contains the line “spent the morning watching TV and looking through my phone”. It’s a pretty and poignant reminder of how fleeting our lives are which starts off like Blue era Joni building to a crazed crescendo, Wheatley primal screaming “every book I ever read, song I ever wrote... none of this was meaningless”. In a year in which the whole world seems to have turned to films, TV series and their radio to get through, the messages on this record really resonate.
Back in those halcyon days of Anything Should Happen, we celebrated lost bands and albums with a vengeance. There was also an indifference to Brit Pop, loving the fact that Guitar Bands were back and the live scene being revived, but irritated that it was all about Oasis, Blur and Pulp and the amount of hype.
We preferred the outer pop edges, bands like Straw, Octopus and Derrero. The latter were a revelation, intelligent pop at a time when it seemed that Welsh bands were taking over the world. So it was a major surprise to someone who thinks they know everything that the band had reformed two decades on and released a new album.
Do here it is. Sometimes you approach reformation albums with caution, but Time Lapse is far far better than anything I could have hoped for. The band has lost none of it's trademark inventiveness or variety and still have a mastery of unusual melodic hooks.
You'd probably call this Pastoral Pop, except that it never sticks to that path. Derrero are West Coast Hippies one minute and The Soft Boys the next. Listen to Flotsam & Jetsam to appreciate the variety, a wonderful slice of Psych tempered by Dream Pop interruptions.
Majoring on Chilled Melodic Pop such as Blue Mutations, Straight Time and Forecasts, yet venturing into the wonderful cacophony that is Silex. Rolling Past Vistas could be Beachwood Sparks and Feed The Flashback is three songs in one including 70's Psych Rock and good old Glam.
Lecture Tour is pure Hitchcockian while almost jazz and lounge. The stand out song though is the magnificent Gerbil Days, mixing The Small faces with a Toytown accompaniment. It had better not be 20 years to the next one, Time Lapse is an outstanding Guitar Pop album that deserves to be in everyone's home.
You can listen to and buy the album here. It is available on Vinyl and CD and the download is an absolute bargain at £3.
Number 105 has a bumper 25 songs in a 73 minute mix.
There is currently work afoot to do an alternate version of this for other sites, including a download option. The alternate version may even be a chatty affair for those who like to hear more about the songs played. The playlist will remain the same.
IDHAS isn't about liking and favouriting, I find it all a bit tawdry. However, if you feel inclined, like the Mixcloud version, this gives the artists wider listening potential. The Audio Extravaganza features regularly in the Mixcloud Global Indie Charts.
A reminder that these episodes are compiled with great care. The aim is to produce a sort of modern day mix tape. Hopefully this will be the soundtrack to your day. If you use the Mixcloud player at the bottom of this page, each song title is shown as it plays. The playlist itself is also as the first comment on the Mixcloud Episode page.
You can listen to the previous IDHAS Audio Extravaganzas on Mixcloud here.
Thanks as always to Jim Moody for his audio expertise. Here are the contents of Volume 105 :
You think you know what to expect. That bloke who had some hits in the seventies with his band and a couple more in the eighties with his mate, has made a solo record. I know what you’re thinking: He’s probably flicked through his Rolodex, roped in a bunch of his famous pals and squeezed in some studio time between exaggerated reminiscences and really long lunches.
It’ll be full of songs that look back at a past that never was or blearily squint at a future that will never be. It’ll be easy on the ear and will sell enough vinyl albums to buy him a new set of wheel trims for his Bentley. How wrong you are.
Kevin Godley’s first solo record in a recording career which started in 1964, sounds quite unlike anything he’s done before. Or indeed, like anyone has done before. Rather than calling up a bunch of the usual suspects to collaborate with, he went to Twitter and asked if anyone fancied sending him something to sing over. From the 250 replies he received, he picked 11. Those 11 tunes became “Muscle Memory.” Spoiler alert: None of them sound like “The Dean and I.”
On “Muscle Memory”, Godley resembles a cross between Salvador Dali and Larry David. He’s pissed off and grumpy, but is bursting with creativity that sticks out at crazy angles and flies off at tangents. If you thought some of the stuff he did with Lol Creme was a little outré, this will turn you inside out.
The good news is Godley’s voice is remarkably unchanged. Here’s a Pop Fact: Despite having the best set of pipes in 10cc, he never took the lead vocal on any of the hits. How weird is that? In 2020, his trademark vibrato is intact and he hits all the notes just like he did in the dusty parts of the seventies.
The other good news is that all the songs on “Muscle Memory,” put that voice in the middle of everything. On “One Day,” a cold cynical, look to the future of pop music, he manages to make words like “algorithm” sound beautiful. “I can’t wait” he sings; “Can you?” You know he’s lying just by the tone of his voice.
If you want carefully ordered compositions, made up of verses, choruses, and beautifully modulated middle eights, you’ll leave dissatisfied. Instead, Godley uncurls melodies over these tunes, which dodge and dart into unusual places, often avoiding the kind of conventional, linear format we’re all used to.
“Expecting a Message,” the album’s opening track, combines what The Young People call “glitchy beats” with a stream of consciousness lyric that Beck would die for. It’s clear from the outset that this isn’t going to be easy listening. Did I mention he was pissed off?
“Ghosts of the Living” floats a set of just plain nasty lyrics over a gently pulsing, trip-hop backdrop. “They’re always dying to see you / To see you die.” Nothing is giving Mr. Godley much joy, it seems, but at least he has the good taste to tell us about it in an interesting way.
He’s certainly not happy with the POTUS. On “Bang Bang Theory,” the 45th president gets a pretty severe kicking. After sharing his catalogue of wrongdoing with us, the Prez asks “Have we gone too far?” “No Mr. President”, he replies to his own question. Even the drum machine sounds angry.
You’ve got to go back to Godley and Creme’s 1978, misanthropic masterpiece “L”, to hear Godley in a mood like this. “Business is Business” from that record is reprised in “Cut to the Cat” on “Muscle Memory.” Media buzzwords collide with each other over a robotic pulse, as a demented marketing executive argues with himself about how to make scenes of degradation appealing to the mass market. “Everybody loves Grumpy Cat – R.I.P,” he says. Do they? Do they really?
Only on “All Bones are White” does the album falter slightly. Despite having all the ingredients that make the rest of the record so great, it just falls short of the mark. A minute shorter and a few B.P.M. faster and maybe it would work.
Fortunately, it’s followed by “Periscope”, one of the records standout tracks. Shockingly, it’s almost a traditional song, with Godley turning in a soulful vocal line and a heartfelt lyric about a man who’s withdrawing from everything. It’s at this point, you remind yourself that Godley has just done one of the best vocal performances of his life at the age of 75.
How many times have you bought a solo album from a member of a band you love, only to listen to it once and then diligently file it away, never to be played again? This is not a pale photocopy of another band or another partnership - this is something new and full of invention and surprises.
You will either love it or “tut” disapprovingly and move backwards into the back catalogue. The truth is that Kevin Godley, at a time in his life when he should be curating legacy releases of the hits he had a lifetime ago, has made a strikingly original piece of work. Risks have been taken. Preconceptions have been shattered. His work is done.
You can pre-order the album here for release on 17 December 2020. You can find out more about Kevin Godley here.
I called Kiwi Jr. a Modern Lovers for the next generation in my review of their debut album, Football Money, here. Whilst you can still easily see that comparison, there is far far more to them than that. The Toronto Quartet encompass everything that is great about Indie Guitar Pop.
Intelligent tongue in cheek lyrics, a sound that still draws in the low fi kids, but is broad enough to gather the more discerning fan. Their second album, Cooler Returns is from that same debut template, but broadens the appeal.
One thing certain is that this will not be in any Best Of 2020, because it is only released on 22 January 2021. It is on Sub Pop which could very well mean much more well deserved exposure. Trust me. album #2 is top notch.
It will be reviewed on here nearer the time after you've been overwhelmed by all those mind numbing Christmas songs. In the meantime, you can pre-order the album now and two of the songs can be listened to on Bandcamp, both of which are embedded here.
You can order the album in various formats here. You can't open it at Christmas, but you can have something to comfort you during the dark cold January.
Usually we would cover EP's as part of our Extended Play columns, but we make a special exception for this. Austin Texas's Wiretree continue the excellent progress thus far with this Five Track affair. Every song of the five is different, which as well as meriting stand alone inclusion, shows off the versatility of Kevin Peroni.
This is a solo affair, not that you can necessarily tell. It acts almost as a sampler of what Peroni can do. All The Girls is a West Coast laid back joy followed by Back To The Start which is almost Time Era, Jeff Lynne to a tee.
Nightlight is wonderfully twee 80's Electronic Pop, reminiscent of those 80's synth pop duos. You can imagine it being on the soundtrack of a mid 80's Teen film. Out Of Control is splendid UK tinted Dream Pop, think Glasgow in the second half of the 80's.
The closer Lovers Broken goes all moody schmoozy heartbroken ballad, delivered beautifully and is again very 80's,, a broadcast in rotation on MTV sort of thing. Five great songs that showcase Wiretree well eithout ever giving away what has gone before.
IDHAS has decided to postpone the planned Sessions over Christmas. With so much going on in the world, the timeline to get everything together needed extending beyond the tight deadlines. This is not a cancellation, just a sensible postponement.
Covid has been the main reason, largely due to artists being able to get into studios or even meet up. We could have maybe run Acoustic Solo Sessions, but agreed that that was never our intention. The downtime really needed electricity.
Sessions had started to come in slowly, but we've now run out of time to have everything ready to make it worthwhile for you the listener and us, the broadcaster. The plan is to run these when the injection allows greater people movement, hopefully around March / Easter time.
A best of the May Sessions is still planned with a previously unreleased Session. There's also plenty of other stuff planned, music wise, around the Festive season. We hope you understand our decision which is regrettable, but I think, understandable.
I like Dave Caruso a lot. His wonderful series of audio interviews, Songwriter Stories, is an essential listen. His subjects fit in beautifully with were IDHAS influences came from and as a musician, he asks questions that you wouldn't hear elsewhere. No what is your favourite colour or how great are you's are present. The questions come from unusual angles. You can listen to the show here.
More importantly, he is one of life's nice guys. We share similar musical tastes, but also the same sense of humour and outlook on life. Having said all of this, it should not be forgotten that Dave is a musician, both as teacher and performer. So it seems a perfect time to review Radiophonic Supersonic, Caruso's latest album, out today.
I knew it would be a great Pop Rock album, but more than that, the influences are widely spread. Compare the Philly / Motown sound of Indelible to the big 80's AOR vibe of Tuesday's Gone and you get the gist.
Caruso's gentle vocal generally lends itself to the laidback, he certainly won't ever scream out, but that doesn't stop the Pop ringing through. Catchy verses are linked to memorable choruses, never more so on I Won't Wait For You.
Heaven Minus Love is a great 70's Singer Songwriter on the keys ballad, whilst Atomic Smile verges on Bossa Nova, it is certainly a lounge shuffle. Throwing Out My Baby With The Bassinet is a great closer, a real 20's / 30's Ragtime joy.
For all this variety, the home runs are when the catchy Pop rings out. A Piece Of The Action is great US Pop Rock and the outstanding Little Miss Sunshine is a beauty of a song. It is very California Harmonic Pop with little hints of Toytown. All in all Radiophonic Supersonic is a more than great listen.
Welcome to the Kool Kat Weekly New Release Update. Kool Kat are distributed in the UK and Europe by I Don't Hear A Single as part of our aim to keep CDs available and affordable. The Kool Kat Links with each album take you to further details on each release..
Please place all UK and European orders by following the details here. Links to Kool Kat's Entire Stock can be found here. Without further ado, here are seven new additions to Kool Kat Musik this Week.
Billie Joe Armstrong - No Fun Mondays (Reprise Records) 2020 $13
With touring paused, Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong (a popper at heart for sure) got to work. Bored during the pandemic, "No Fun Mondays” started by posting a new cover to Green Day’s YouTube channel every Monday on YouTube. Those off-the-cuff recordings form the foundation of his solo debut, a spirited album that runs the gamut from pop to pop-punk to punk - all 14 upbeat covers of the series are all in one place.
Andy Bell - The View From Halfway Down (Sonic Cathedral Records) 2020 $15
“The View From Halfway Down” is the debut solo release from Andy Bell of Ride. It is a pleasant melange of psych pop and electronic - like a soft filtered version of his work in Ride (who themselves have softened their musical attack since their early days).
The Lemon Clocks - Time To Wake Up (Rock Indiana Records Spain) 2020 $16
Jeremy Morris, Stefan Johannson and mates have delivered another terrific release that represents the spirit of the best garage pop of the sixties. An ambitious, powerful and imaginative album full of Jeremy’s patented reverb-drenched vocals accompanied by layers of swirling 6 and 12-string guitars.
Gerry McGoldrick - Swelter In Pace/The Great Dissension (self-released) 2020 $12
Top keen-eyed trainspotters will recognize Philly’s veteran punk rocker Gerry McGoldrick as the frontman for Solid For Sixty, a band that also counted Frank Brown (Flight Of Mavis/Buzz Zeemer/Travel Lanes) among its members. Gerry was also in Philly bands Emily Valentine and Napalm Sunday. He writes simple, straight forward songs with clever lyrics and catchy hooks.
Michael Rault - It’s A New Day Tonight (Wick Records) 2020 $15
WOW!!! The record glimmers like a taut pop-rock song pouring from radio speakers in the ‘70s. Warm tones, breezy melodies and the sugary strum of guitar strings crackle under crisp production. It’s a timeless sound. Despite its sparkling sound, the record is threaded with references to darkness, dreams, sleep and so on.
The Strand - Another Season Passes (Kool Kat Musik) 2007 $12
An 80’s track from The Strand is featured on the “Strum & Thrum: The American Jangle Underground1983-1987” collection that was just released. “Another Season Passes” is their 2007 release on the Kool Kat label from the re-formed band! We're quite happy to report that they sound as if they never missed a beat! Led by founding members James Garner and Bill Lasley, they deliver nine new songs written between the early 80's and 2007.
This issue details the history of the Magic Fern, one of the key bands in Seattle’s psychedelic music scene in 1966-68. Photographer Eric Hayes shares his journey through the 1960s, along with some remarkable rare photos of The Yardbirds live onstage in 1966, and The Stones in the studio in early 1969, their last sessions with Brian Jones. David Holzer provides new insight into Brian’s musical expeditions in Morocco. Tim Stegall talks at length with Bun E Carlos about the early days of Cheap Trick, the first installment of a two-part feature. Plus much more.
Bergen's I Do You Do Karate's second album emphasizes that their wonderful debut album was no flash in the pan. This is Indie Guitar Pop at its very very best. It also provides the opportunity to praise Nic Dalton's wonderful Sydney label, Half A Cow. Half A Cow has been an Indie beacon of light for 30 years.
One Last Job In Mexico resides somewhere between UK 80's Indie and IRS, probably leaning more towards the latter. You can just imagine them being produced by Mitch Easter. A Norwegian band on an Australian label sounding like UK and US Indie, you just know it is going to be great and it more than is.
The Power Pop brigade will love this (if they can put down their Badfinger and Raspberries albums long enough), as will the fans of clever Indie Pop, think XTC, The Sugarplastic et al. The lyrical wit oozes out across big hooks and killer riffs.
I really can't praise this album enough. Suffice to say, the difficult part has been selecting three songs to embed, I could have chose any of the 10. 30 minutes in total, you can play it twice in an hour. Whilst most here are three minute gems, a big shout out goes to the closer, Wild Bunch Rocking, which is close on six minutes. The last two and a half minutes rock out in Everything Flows style, truly splendid.
Don't expect ballads and I love you do, yes I do's here. Every song is small but perfectly formed, says what it wants, cleverly, to say and gets off. Styrofoamed is like a popped up REM. The Kicking And Screaming Song sounds all gentle Housemartins, until it kicks and spits.
The slowest and most pop they get is on the wonderfully titled Olivia Newton John in Xanadu. Then there are the absolute joys like the Weezer-ish Love Comes To Town. What a fantastic album, it'll definitely be high up in the IDHAS Albums Of The Year. One of the reasons for not doing your Best Of 2020's until the year is actually done.
You can listen to and buy the album here. You can find out more about the Half Cow label here.
Stockholm's Robert Jallinder offers up Moonspeak's wonderful debut album. On I Don't Hear A Single, we've been used to Sweden providing chiming chirpy poptastic affairs. Don't expect any of that here. This is an incredibly deep reflective album, but the pop does burst out when it can,
Nowanights sounds quite melancholic, but that may be because Jallinder's vocal lends itself more to that. There are some incredible arrangements and unexpected twists across the ten songs, but the feel is very UK Indie Rock, even if it is difficult to pin down exactly what.
Moody is definitely the word to be used, but splendidly so. The opener, Frozen Fountain falls somewhere between prime time Radiohead with a vocal alternating between Thom Yorke and Mike Peters. Yet, December Stars has a big Brit Pop chorus.
Necessity Says could be Chris Rea until it breaks out into a cracking synth driven chorus. Escape Velocity could easily be early Elbow. Common Ground is probably the killer song here, certainly the most commercial. The vocal drawl is teased out by the cheesy 80's synth sound.
However the most interesting songs are those that benefit from the big arrangements. Missing Things being the best example, closely followed by the aforementioned Frozen Fountain. Indeed these songs overshadow the stripped down numbers, great though they are.
Nowanights reminds me a lot of those early 00's UK Indie albums, even Snow Patrol. We don't hear this sort of alblum much these days, perhaps that's why I like it so much. An album to be listened to, rather than to sing along with and there's no harm in that.